1. Which was the best move of the NBA offseason?
Chris Herring, FiveThirtyEight:
I feel obligated to say LeBron James, given that he's the best player in the world. But if you're the Oklahoma City Thunder, you have to feel like it was locking in Paul George after making the enormous gamble to trade for him without knowing whether he'd stay in the small market.
On top of that, the Thunder got out from under the last year of Carmelo Anthony's deal (and all the luxury tax payments it would have triggered and managed to get a useful player out of it. They won't win a title because of these two things, but they came out of it all pretty well, all things considered.
Jackie MacMullan, ESPN.com:
The best move was the most anticlimactic, the most predictable and the most obvious. Never mind that there has been a run on graffiti paint since LeBron took his talents to Redondo Beach. The Lakers got their man, the juice of a "big name" that pumps new life into the Lakers' hype machine and a chance to position themselves for a game-changing summer in 2019.
In the meantime, LeBron will settle into his L.A. digs and sort through the — ahem — colorful cast of characters who have joined him. Anytime you sign the best player in the game, you win. Simple as that.
Kevin Pelton, ESPN Insider:
I'm choosing to interpret this as a move with the highest degree of difficulty — or, in other words, not the Lakers signing LeBron James. In that case, I'm going with the Toronto Raptors dealing for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green.
Although adding Leonard is a high-risk move because of his injury and impending free agency, the Raptors gave up so little in addition to DeMar DeRozan (center Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round pick) that even if Leonard leaves after this season, the trade can still be a positive move for them.
2.Which was the most underrated move (or set of moves)?
I'm a fan of what the Denver Nuggets did, starting with drafting Michael Porter Jr., who remains arguably the most talented player in the draft. They re-signed Nikola Jokic (10 triple-doubles in 2017-18, trailing only that of Russell Westbrook, LeBron and Ben Simmons) and sneaky good Will Barton.
They also paid a pittance to bet on Isaiah Thomas, who can score in bunches and force the issue in transition in the right environment. That chip on IT's shoulder has been upgraded to a full-fledged boulder, and he's at his best when people are counting him out. The main objective here is to make sure he doesn't muck up the continued development of 21-year-old Jamal Murray, a young, emotional player who has a chance to become a cornerstone.
Kevin Arnovitz, ESPN.com:
There wasn't any ingenious front-office witchcraft this offseason outside of the collective restraint across the league, but perhaps the New Orleans Pelicans. They resisted the temptation to pay big money to DeMarcus Cousins, then filled out their roster with a couple of affordable players — one pretty good (Julius Randle), the other serviceable with, at least theoretically, some remaining upside (Elfrid Payton).
I actually really liked the Pacers' summer. In perfect Indiana fashion, the club didn't do anything all that flashy. Tyreke Evans was likely a wanted man around the league, and I'm sure a handful of teams could have found nice fits for Doug McDermott and Kyle O'Quinn. But they all filled needs for this club, which was pretty damn good last season and didn't lose anything of value this summer. If a handful of things break right, the Pacers could make some real noise in the Eastern Conference playoffs next year.